Gold inches up as Ukraine tensions stoke safe-haven buying

A blacksmith holds on to gold rings at the gold market in Omdurman
A blacksmith holds on to gold rings at the gold market in Omdurman April 8, 2014. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Gold edged higher on Monday as heightened tensions in Ukraine sparked some safe-haven buying, but fund outflows and weak physical demand continued to cloud the metal's outlook.


Spot gold had gained 0.5 percent to $1,300.21 an ounce by 0026 GMT.

Trading volumes were thin as Hong Kong and London were closed on Monday for Easter.

At least three people were killed in a gunfight in the early hours of Sunday near a Ukrainian city controlled by pro-Russian separatists, shaking an already fragile international accord that was designed to avert a wider conflict.

SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 3.29 tonnes to 795.14 tonnes on Thursday.

Merger talks between Barrick Gold Corp and Newmont Mining Corp, the world's top two gold producers, broke down in the past few days, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources.

China has begun allowing gold imports through its capital Beijing, sources familiar with the matter said, in a move that would help keep purchases by the world's top bullion buyer discreet at a time when it might be boosting official reserves.

South African platinum producers made a new wage offer on Thursday in a bid to end a three-month strike at their mines that has hit 40 percent of global output of the industrial metal.


The dollar firmed in early Asian trading on Monday, though the tense situation in Ukraine was likely to keep traders on their toes, with some markets still closed for the Easter holiday. Japan's benchmark Nikkei average opened higher.

(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Joseph Radford)